Titans centre Kallum Watkins has congratulated Dragons forward James Graham ahead of his milestone 400th first class match, saying the English Test forward "paved the way" for the NRL's current British invasion.
Watkins, a long-time Test teammate of the Dragons prop, says Graham’s competitiveness is what sets him above the rest.
“He’s a good guy, and great player as well," Watkins said, ahead of the clash between his Titans and Graham's Dragons in Sydney on Saturday.
"He’s a guy that just wants to win, and he’s probably instilled that a lot through his younger years because he was part of a team that was really successful system in St Helens.
“He got into the international stage pretty early in his career, he’s a great fella and any time I’ve been in England camp with him, it has been good.”
Watkins said reaching the milestone of 400 top-flight games in the front row, particularly with Graham's uncompromising style of play, was an amazing achievement.
“From early on when he was younger, he was consistently playing that top level," Watkins said. "The games racked up from there in the Super League, but then he came over to Australia and he’s been fantastic since he’s been here in the NRL.
“He’s paved the way for other players to come over here and challenge themselves.”
Coming to the NRL with the Bulldogs in 2012, Graham’s impact was immediate - helping the Bulldogs to the 2012 and 2014 grand finals.
The firebrand forward has also represented England on 45 occasions.
Watkins says there was never any doubt Graham would rise to the top class of the NRL’s forwards.
“We always knew he was going to be a success here," Watkins said. "What he did in the Super League for St Helens was tremendous. He was part of a successful team, and a big part of that success.
"We knew he’d bring that to Canterbury, and St George now.
“He’s a leader. He always brings the best out of himself and then tries to help other players and make other players better as well.
“He’s got high standards for himself, but at the same time he’s a good lad and everyone can see the kind of character he is.”